The year is ,2005 Place, king mountain championships
The day started out blue and calm,once again i was late.I got my stuff ready for the day and was out the door.As i drove to moore park i wondered if the hazy glow from last night was a consequence of my drinking or the irradiated glow of arco,the first atomic city.It was probably the whiskey.I pulled into moore park and was soon engulfed into the crowd of good friends i have come to know at this meet.Lisa tate always has open arms to all and the people from the city of moore are just as gracious.The people in this area are real Americans in my book,they take good care of there fellow Americans in Idaho.I have never been on the side of the road long without someone stopping to help,i love Idaho.
We all gather around for the infamous king mountain flight report.This guy starts rattling off a bunch of info and im not listening,all i heard was bla bla bla 5000watts per sq meter bla bla bla.Man i wish i had listened more carefully.When someone says there is 5000 watts per sq meter in the air,you better put on your ridein boots because you are going for a ride!.After the flight report Lisa gave out the prizes and we were off to launch.Now as you drive up king mountain you start to realize this is one hell of a mountain and that they dont call it king for nothing.When we reach the top i quickly get my glider set up and start to look around.I dont see any development,5000 watts dont mean crap!.As we are sitting on launch we hear over the radio that they are calling route 1.
I start to see some cues form over invisible mountain,no worry,i say to myself.I can remember back in 2001 at king when me and doug prather were sitting on launch watching the same patch of sky.There was a thunderstorm building and falling apart and it kept doing this all day,you could set your watch by it.Here i am in 2005,ive seen this before,no problem.I guess you could say i had some intermediate syndrome.I figured i would just time my crossing,its what ol gol dern bill would do.So here i am on launch and km just flew off the top launch,i always follow that guy hes my mentor and guide.I launch off the lower launch with a strong run and then i ran some more and then some more,dam i ran allot but i finally get off.
As soon as im off,i can feel the air is kinda restless,so i grip the bar a little more than usual and start to climb.It must have looked good to everybody still on the ground because them gliders started to come off the ground like somebody had just kicked a hornets nest.As im climbing to 12500,i realize this is one rocking day and its still early.Well here i am at 12500 on top of the whirlpool,there are gliders everywhere and we start our trek down the valley.First up,rams horn canyon,This canyon can suck you in like a f15 intake and spit you out like 1 .I start my glide across at 11900 and get to mr nasty at 10000 and begin to climb.
After i got up in the rip snorting thermal at mister nasty i flew down sunset ridge to pass creek canyon to make another canyon crossing.I struggled to get up here but was able to make it to 11500 and began crossing pass creek canyon,i flew straight towards kangas gash.Ok boys and girls this is where things get dicey.As im getting to kangas gash i start a nice climb and im happy.Once over kangas gash im in a good climb under a newly forming cue.I started my climb at 9000 feet and was happy for the ride.I heard over the radio that Ken Musieo was at corner mountain and this gave me all the drive i needed.So i put that trusty combat on a tip and started to core this monster thermal.My glider went up so fast it was making noises and my vario started to talk,it said you are a stupid monkey on sticks and fabric,me and my vario laughed and were merry.As my conversation went on with my vario i noticed i had climbed through 15500 and was still climbing just as fast if not faster.
Hey whats this im out of oxygen,stupid vario cant talk.I pull some air into my lungs and compress it,ah clarity.Hey wait a minute,that cloud shadow sure looks big.I do a quick push out to see what im dealing with and holy shiitt.I have been under allot of clouds and this one was unlike any before or since.Have you ever seen the poor little fish being stalked by a huge octopus,those big tentticals ready to grab you up.Well folks guess who the fish is!.This cloud was swirling with shitt falling out of it in spots and stuff going up into it at great speeds.I could not tell how close i was to the bottom but it scared the hell out of me ,it was like staring into a whirlpool, i started to run.Running was almost futile,thank god for my combat L,as i pulled in on the bar and tried to run i was clocking 75mph air speed and 3mph ground speed with the feeling of getting sucked over the back.
Going into the wind was not a option so i started to fly cross wind and started to make progress in the most turbulent air i have ever been in.Despite doing the eternal pull up i was still going up at 75 mph indicated air speed and was only making 6 mph ground speed,i was starting to feel trapped in a most peculiar way.The octopus arms were now in my path and i had to fly through them.I encountered wind shear so brutal,I was doing 75 mph and trying to maintain my heading.All of a sudden the wind stopped,like someone flipped a switch and i was free falling ,within less than a second.I fell 1000 ft so fast i thought god had slapped me from above.As if this was not scary enough,i looked at my complaining vario and it was at 3000 ft down.Then it happened i hit brutal turbulence followed by extreme up.My glider went as close to being tumbled as i ever wanted to be.It took me twenty minutes of this repeated abuse before i escaped this monster.
I have been in allot of scuffles in my life,out of all of them i would get beaten only because i ran out of steam.About half way through this ordeal i was at this point of exhaustion and beaten.As i was getting to the point of giving up,i started to go through my options.HHHMMM i could pull my chute , drift over the back and smash in on the back side ,of mount mccaleb ,in 35 mph rotor,i decided against this.Option two,i could just give up.Option 3,i could just crash on the front side of the mountain.I rejected these options because none of them would end up near any beer,lol.Well i came to the conclusion that i was in a fight for my life.I knew that as long as i was conscious i could make my arms move and ignored the pain.Ill give up when im unconscious.
After i left the gates of hell all i had to deal with was 35mph winds and trying to recover from my ordeal,i was a useless sack sailing on the wind.As i began my trek down range I thought to myself ,thats the worst i will have to deal with,i was sadly mistaken.As i approached corner mountain i hear that km was going over the back at double springs pass,so i press on.I got to corner mountain and heard no more from km so i figured he was long gone.At this point i was extremely fatigued but wanted to make may air port,at the very least.I got high at corner mountain and left there at 14500.I flew towards dickey peak and was losing altitude like a septic dump out of a 747,i was starting to feel like frozen poop.
I barely got across double springs pass and got to the face of dickey peak, at 9000 ft altitude, i started a climb that went sideways as much as it went up.I worked this crappy thermal to 11500 and at this point i had a healthy respect for 5000 watts per sq meter.I am still beat from my earlyer circus act and now am looking for some good air.I fly down range to willows and hook another thermal to 13500.Im high enough to see the beloved howe valley,like a guy thirsty in the desert i leave for my mirage.Aaaahhhhh,i think to myself as im on my way to better air.I hunker down and pick a good spine to follow,while going over the back.Unfortunately the spine i was following wound up taking me to the outlet of double springs pass canyon,remember the 35mph winds?.I had a small rest while i was going over the falls,lol.
At this point in the journey i was frozen and tired,when i say tired,i mean i could not hold my arms and head up anymore and was resting them on the control bar,i was a rag doll. As im flying down this spine,i start to get my most favorite thing in the world,turbulence.My god i think to myself as i start my decent into hell,whats next,i cant use my fukin arms!.Im almost to the valley at 8500 when i notice,hey thats double springs pass road,you know,the canyon.This is where i encountered turbulence from rotor that you can only call special.As im flying along at 60 mph air speed,my glider turned 180 degrees,back towards the way i just came.During this big turn, i flat spun 180 degrees and never lost any airspeed,just lots of altitude.At this point im just getting slapped around.I try to just get the glider fly towards a round green field with tractors working.
Ok at this point im just flowing with what ever the glider wanted to do.I only controlled the glider enough to keep it going in the general direction towards the tractor.I was saving,what was left of my strength for my landing attempt.As i was getting ready for my crash i was looking at the tractors and thinking to myself,cool they will see me flipping across the field and will help.Talk about landing for convenience.Alright im still getting slapped all over and on final for landing,at 20 ft the turbulence let up and i was able to land the glider.At the end when i flared,it was like whoever was tormenting me took pity on me after surviving what had been thrown in my path.As my good friend will brown would say,i had everything accept a nun in a wheelchair thrown at me.
When i hit the ground,it was like my body refused to move anymore.So here i am with the wildest winds whipping me from all sides and i cant move.Lucky for me my wing settled in a depression and the wind could not upend me.I stayed there for over a hour,recovering and thanking the old man upstairs for saving my worthless hyde.As i sat there i tried to raise someone on the radio.Ill be damed if km dident call back.As we were riding back in the truck i was wining about my ordeal and asked him if his flight was as turbulent he replied,It was a little turbulent ,and this guy is my mentor.I love my fellow mcclure pilots and the get u sum moto.Now i know what get u sum means.
Shannon come back and fly my friend,we all miss you.